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October 1, 2018
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USgeocoder API

Address Standardization and Validation

USgeocoder API can standardize and validate your address to USPS (US Postal System) standards and US Census standards.

The US Postal service and the US Census Bureau use their own algorithms to produce and store addresses in the United States resulting in slightly different standards. The US Census Bureau reads USPS addresses better than the Cenus reads USPS.

Not all US Postal addresses are in the US Census TIGER database, for instance, PO Box and Rural Box is an USPS unique product of the US Postal System. In the meantime, not all the addresses in US Census TIGER database have a US Postal address, especially for those in rural areas and those within 1/2 miles of a US Post Office or dirt roads in wet, snowy, or hilly terrain. USgeocoder uses a proprietary method to locate US Postal addresses not yet in the US Census database.

How USgeocoder address standardization process works

When receiving a street address and 5 digital zip code for a particular location, USgecoder first standardizes the address using USPS and US Census standards, and then run it against USPS database and US Census database to validate the address.

If the address is found in both database, USgeocoder will return the standardized address per USPS. If it’s not found in USPS but found in US Census database, USgeocoder will return the standardized address by US Census database. If the address is not found in both database, USgeocoder will return "NO MATCH" for the address.

Lastly, USgeocoder will use the standardized address for geocoding and produce district matching information such as legislative districts, local jurisdictions such as county, municipality, school districts, and census demographics.

Obtain standardized address from USgeocoder API

For addresses standardized and validated by USPS, the standardized address appears to be all CAPs with street type and directional type abbreviated. In addition, a zip9 and carrier route information is available. Zip9 and carrier route are unique to the US Postal System. The carrier route is used to divide mailing list into segments. Mail presorted by the mailer according to carrier route before entry into the postal system earns a substantial postage discount. Zip9 is 5 digital zip codes plus 4 extensions. A ZIP+4 code is to identify a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as the side of a street in a city block, a group of apartments, a business firm address with multiple mail stops, and the like.

Now let's take a look at 2 examples to find out how you can use the information produced by USgeocoder API to obtain standardized address information:

Input address: 529 chestnut street, 95060.

XML outputs:


 [address_info] => Array
(
[address_status] => Match Found
[street] => 529 CHESTNUT ST
[city] => Santa Cruz
[state] => CA
[zip5] => 95060
)

 [zipcode_carrierroute] => Array
(
[zip9] => Array
(
[zip9_status] => Match Found
[zip9_value] => 95060-3600
)
[carrier_route] => Array
(
[carrier_route_status] => Match Found
[carrier_route_value] => C012
)
)

From the above output, this address is standardized with USPS as:

529 CHESTNUT ST, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-3600

Now let’s look at another example. The input address is not found in USPS database but is found in US Census database:

Input address: 252 SMARTT STATION ROAD, 37378

XML outputs:


 [address_info] => Array
(
[address_status] => Match Found
[street] => 252 Smartt Station Rd
[city] => Smartt
[state] => TN
[zip5] => 37378
)

 [zipcode_carrierroute] => Array
(
[zip9] => Array
(
[zip9_status] => No Match
)
[carrier_route] => Array
(
[carrier_route_status] => No Match
)
)

So when the address is only found in US Census database, only the first letter of the address name is capitalized in the standardized address. In addition, no zip9 and carrier_route is available.

You can find information about USgeocoder API in the USgeocoder API Integration Guide. To find out the standardized address, zip9 or carrier route for a particular address, please take a test drive with our Live Demo or take a look at the sample API data output.

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